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Our English Interests | Sunday early afternoon


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"Tell the dear mademoiselle she may visit me whenever the fancy strikes her. Now if it pleases her."

 

Apartment of Duc de Chevreuse

The door opens into a narrow corridor that opens into the apartment’s drawing room. The room is furnished simply but elegantly in shades of pale green. A bank of windows along the south wall offers a view of the Long Walk and Castle Hill, letting in prodigious amounts of sunlight on a clear day. A carved rosewood writing table is placed against the windows while a handful of straight-backed chairs, cushioned in matching shades of green, are dotted throughout the room. Along the west wall is a deep-set stone fireplace that crackles merrily at all times to ward off the cold: it is draped with a swath of royal blue velvet, a wreath of seasonal flowers gracing the center of the swathe. An iron chandelier hangs from the ceiling, the light glinting off of the polished wood floors. Silver bows and bells adorn the tiebacks of the drapes..

To the rear of the drawing room is two doors doors; these open into the apartment's bedchambers. The smaller of the two has been finished in dark blue, the stone walls covered with a large tapestry depicting the culmination of a boar hunt. Against the north wall is a carved cherry bed hung in heavy blue damask to match the counterpane and the cushion on the single chair beside the small fireplace. Silver bells adorn the tiebacks of the bed curtains, affixed there with silver satin bows. An iron chandelier provides light in the windowless room, light glinting off the polished wooden floors. On the west wall is a small door leading into a very small closet.

The larger of the two bedrooms is pristine white with three small beds placed directly in the center of the chamber. The beds are distinguishable only by the differences in embroidery on the curtains and counterpanes; one red, one blue, and one green. Blossoms made of deep blue velvet adorn the tiebacks of the bed curtains, affixed there with white satin bows. Against the east wall is a small fireplace while next to the door is a small vanity table and stool. Opposite the fireplace is a door that leads into a small closet; this door is hidden behind an elegant tapestry of a beautiful young maiden with a unicorn at her feet. The windowless room is lit by an iron chandelier, light glinting off the polished wooden floors.

 

Maisie was out of breath from having run up the stairs to deliver her mistress the message, and was rewarded by a great smile, “Merveilleuse!” Nicci gushed reaching to squeeze her maids hand.  “You are a treasure, quick fetch my lilac fan.”

It was but a few minutes later that a pinky-scratching noise at Chevreuse’s door alerted of Nicci’s arrival at it; she newly freshed with a dusting of power and blush of cherry to lips, with fan hanging from satin ribbon from her wrist.  

Nicolette had kept a correspondence with At Aignan’s sister, and it was he whom had become a patron for her mother.  While Chevreuse; well the men were both bright minds, one complimenting the other – but she’d found herself fondest of Charles-Louis with the insightful brown eyes. 

A pleasant tingle of excitement brightned her eyes as she waited, fingers smoothing her skirts. 

Nicci did not make herself a regular visitor, upon a wish not to attract peoples attention overly. (It would not do for the English to notice gatherings of French persons, lest their paranoia decided to make something of it.)  But sometimes, such as now, she thought benefits to outweigh any risk of. 

Which was a happy thought. 

Admitted, Nicolette glided in to the room with elegance in hope to please his eyes, and dropped into a deep curtsy with the warm utterance, “Your Grace, I am beside of myself with joy to see you once more...”  And arising, she looked to meet his eyes. 

He was a man of many years yes, but had such style and mental vigour as to be compelling. Upon an impulse she drew nearer still, with wish to air embrace with air kisses, “… it is like a return to home.”

She indulged herself with this feeling, even though she had no intent to return to France - flashing a smile, she imagined he knew as much also.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Duc de Chevreuse was a handsome fellow in his early thirties, with a keen eye for French fashion and an inheritance in intrigues which made him perfect for the task to which he was assigned by Le Roi. Specifically, helping to ferret out this Dutch conspiracy and help return goodwill fully to the French...whilst also ascertaining if any of it could be connected to that folly attached to Orleans and Lorraine. Ruvigny's bastard - who had met his fate as a traitor in England - had been a Protestant, and the Dutch did ever so love funding French Protestants. Apparently just as much as they wished to make certain an English Catholic never took the throne.

 

"Ahh Mademoiselle, how beautiful you are," he compliment before kissing her hand. She drew near and he did not discourage it, leaning down accommodatingly for her affections. 

 

"I do try to bring Le Esprit with me," the Duc added, chuckling warmly. "I am glad it places you in such familiar comforts."

 

(OOC - Chevreuse is Charles Honoré d'Albert de Luynes, Louis-Charles is his father, the Duc de Luynes)

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"Between us we might pose for porcelain figurines,"  Nicolette tipped her head with the tease following their pretty praises. 

"... while the house in which I am kept is known for it's own stylings of."  Buckingham was blatant in his fondness for French stylings including his own version of espirit.  And since last she'd spoken to the Duc in person she'd learnt of his connection to her patron (one of, that is) so this acknowledgement was  in reference to that. 

Stepping back again, after the exchanges of greetings, Nicolette settled the look of him more fully to mind. He was younger than she remembered, though his elegance endured.

"Home is ever a place close to the heart." she settled, "but I was so pleased to hear you attended Windsor too, for your physicality has Mother France feel even nearer -  I carry your nearness close, even if visits in persons are much rarer."  In a playfully manner she then added, ‘I always imagine the English would leap to hysterics should they see more than one French person in a room together. Better our conversation is done out of their sight…”

She had wondered who saw her enter though his door, possibly one of Cumberlands guards, though she'd not lingered to attact attention. 

“Your Grace… there are a couple of things I seek your council upon?”

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Yes, Buckingham is quite the admirer of French styles and opulent art, of the sort which fills Versailles. It is a shame so much of his family's collection was lost during the rule of that commoner, His Majesty's also."

 

A hearty laugh met her reply about a French congregation. "It is true, though less true than it might have been last year. Now that there is a Protestant heir, there is less worry over the French influence."

 

A delicately groomed brow quirked just a bit as she said she sought his council. He nodded.

 

"Then shall we sit and have a glass of something? You can tell me what is on your mind. Your dear mother perhaps?"

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  • 4 weeks later...

Nicci was becoming used to the way men of her acquaintance shared tidbits; such as the loss of someone known to them treasures, she appreciated that it was their was to imparting lesser known knowledge, thus to be received as a gift.  With a thoughtful nod and smile she mused "You might then enjoy the story of how I accidentally found one such boyhood treasure and gifted it back - with no idea at the time that it was originally the Dukes.  A miniature soldiers set that he and His Majesty used to play with." 

"How remarkable coincidence moves amongst us, yes, there really ought to be remarkable quote to it's blessings brought. The Greeks might have coined something perhaps?"

With a gracious nod she accepted his offer of a chair and a drink, and seated herself prettily in the precarious perch that the ladies in French Salons had perfected, duely spending a moment arranging her skirts.  “Thank you Your Grace, though it is not my Mama whom I concern over; in fact when my thoughts turn to her it is with a happy confidence that she cannot be happier nor better placed." 

“But actually, it is the appearance of an unlikely contingent here this season. The Russians, that have me wondering what manner of politics they desire.  The Ambassador in fact attended a festive bonfire I arranged, while I cannot say he seemed very welcomed by others, it was plain that he intended to impress with quirky and novel items. And you know how the English like anything exotic.  I just wondered, what you might know about him, and… well, what are your thoughts?”  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chevreuse, like any courtier, was always interested in a good story - or gossip - for what else did they have to spent their time doing? Stories were their own kind of trade amongst courtiers, who needed entertainment. 

 

"I should be most interested to hear such a tale! Though I am far younger than the duke, there are a few tales I know from my relations. I would be happy to share them in return," he said, with a conspiratorial grin. 

 

He would, of course, not share the great secret known between them, but there were many tales that were far more harmless so long removed. Or, at least, they were ones that were commonly known to those old enough to remember them. 

 

Of the Duke's father too.

 

"The Russian? Well, I should imagine he is here for the same reason most diplomats from far reaches come to any court: trade opportunities. I cannot claim to have more knowledge than that for Le Roi is not much concerned over Russians treating with the English, and you know that my focus here is on the continued relationship between my king and his royal cousin here. Aiding against this Dutch danger has many benefits especially after the contemptuous and unsanctioned actions of Ruvigny's bastard." While Le Roi surely was above apologies or making something up to another, he saw values in diplomatic actions. "There has not been much time for Russians, alas."

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It was an innocent enough tale that she felt at liberty to be free with it.  Laughing lightly at his cheery reply Nicci leaned forward to add, "It was just as well, that I grew bored of a battalion of English soldiers under my bed - I find their leaders far more distracting." 

Taking a sip of her drink, Nicci was so pleased she'd thought to visit.  Chevreuse was fine company, in fact if she'd had French plans she might have fancy thoughts - but her sights were set in England. Which meant she could simply enjoy the mans company for what it was. 

"La but tell me a teaser to the sort of tale you might offer in exchange!  I am starting to think we need to upgrade our beverage for the telling;  I find confidences best shared with brandy, don’t you think?"

Of the Russian, he did not seem bothered.  "Certainly ambassadors from here and there don’t raise an eye, but this one, he seems a bit different.  A little bit too, unique, I would say.  And yes, as you mention the Dutch concerns, then Russia is rather too northern for my liking - nothing good ever came from the Baltic."

 

   

 

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"A tease you say?" A brow raised humorously. "Let it not be said that Chevreuse fails to deliver." 

 

He made of show of giving a grand hmmm, putting a finger to his lips in thought. In truth, though, there were many tales he could tease or tell. 

 

"Surely you have heard of the story of Buckingham being enamored of His Majesty's sister, Henriette?" He led into the tease. Then took a long pause. "But did you hear that he nearly made the Comte de Guiche go broke?"

 

His delicate brow raised again as he chuckled. Buckingham had a wealth of income few others could ever compete with and had been profligate after the return from exile.

 

"And now it is your turn," he said, motioning for his servant to bring the brandy and fill glasses.

 

"I daresay their headwear is considerably...unique."

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